Davide Monteleone wins FreeLens young photojournalist prize for Northern Caucaus work

Italian photographer Davide Monteleone wins this year’s FreeLens Award for Young Photojournalism for his story Northern Caucasus for which he receives €10.000. The prize was announced at the second Lumix Festival in Hannover (16-20 June). Freelens is the biggest German organization of photojournalists.

For a report on the winner, see burn magazine post, Emerging Photographer Grant 2010 Recipient. At the end of the post, it says: “Davide will receive $15,000. from Burn Magazine through the Magnum Cultural Foundation to continue his work in the Northern Caucasus”. Now, I presume that is in addition to the Freelens prize as this was posted on 12 June ahead of the announcement on 19 June. Burn magazine is curated by Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey.

Monteleone is quoted in burn magazine post as saying:

“I intend to investigate without prejudices such reality, beginning with the daily life of people living in the Northern Caucasus, who never reached their coveted independence and are still suffering the ramifications of the Russian Empire during the colonial age.

“They are divided between the claim for independence and the pride for their diversity, economic subordination, the historical-political and mental affiliation, the condemnation to an eternal geographic position in a limbo limes, and the elaboration of a new post-soviet identity.

“My goal is to go further away from the bird’s eye view of the geopolitical analysis, gliding down to a low altitude to find the details of such a complex world, with the aim to give a new key to the present day Russian Caucasus.”

Monteleone’s work was chosen from 60 stories. Magnum photographer Thomas Höpker says, on the Lumix website: “I was totally overwhelmed by the quality of the submitted works and it was very hard for the jury to choose a winner.” Honourable mentions to Johan Bävman, Emiliano Larizza, Munem Wasif and Thomas Lekfeldt. Thomas Lekfeldt was also awarded the Audience Award with an additional prize money of 1000 €. The prize for the best multimedia production went to the American photographer Ilana Panich-Linsman for her story about 15-year-old girls in New York.

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